Richmond MP William Hague yesterday welcomed the first of thousands of youngsters to an exercise that could save lives.

Mr Hague officially launched the annual Crucial Crew safety campaign at RAF Leeming.

Over the next two weeks, 2,000 youngsters from 80 schools across Richmondshire and Hambleton will be taking party in the programme, which is designed to raise their awareness.

They will be participating in a series of hands-on lessons in how to tackle emergencies in a joint campaign organised by Hambleton District Council and North Yorkshire Police.

The youngsters, aged ten and 11, will attend two-hour sessions over the two-week exercise.